On June 2nd, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission (“the FTC”) announced modifications to its in-house adjudicative proceedings. Under these new rules, an administrative law judge (“ALJ”) presiding over an administrative hearing can only issue “recommended” decisions that are reviewed automatically by the FTC Commissioners (the “Commission”). The Commission, during their now-automatic review, may affirm the recommended decision in full or reject the decision, in whole or in part, and issue its own decision adopting different findings of fact or conclusions of law. Before the Commission acts on an ALJ’s recommended decision, it must provide the parties with an opportunity to submit a brief that states any exceptions to the decision.Continue Reading FTC Modifies Role of Administrative Judges Amid Heightened Agency Scrutiny

The Federal Trade Commission (the “FTC”) and Department of Justice, Antitrust Division (the “DOJ”) (together the “Agencies”) continue to carry out the Biden Administration’s stated mission to reinvigorate antitrust enforcement to “Promote Competition in the American Economy.”Continue Reading Restrictive Covenants in Real Estate: Next Antitrust Enforcement Target?

On April 14, 2023, in a decision involving appeals regarding two separate agency enforcement actions, the Supreme Court unanimously held that respondents in such actions may raise certain constitutional challenges outside of the administrative proceedings. Axon Enterprise, Inc. v. Federal Trade Commission.Continue Reading Supreme Court Holds That Respondents in Agency Enforcement Actions May Raise Constitutional Challenges Outside of Administrative Proceedings

Following up on an earlier blog post outlining the United States Federal Trade Commission’s (“FTC”) increased regulatory action against non-compete agreements in employment contracts,[1] a view across the pond reveals that European competition authorities follow these developments with interest – the prospect of groundbreaking new developments is more limited, though.Continue Reading Non-Compete and No-Poach Agreements: Towards Convergence of the US and EU Approaches?

On March 9, the FTC unanimously voted to block the proposed merger between the nation’s largest provider of home mortgage loan origination systems (LOS) and other key lender software tools, and its top competitor that offers the same services. In its complaint, the FTC alleged that one company owns the country’s dominant LOS platform, while the other company owns and operates the second-largest platform. In a press release announcing the administrative complaint, the FTC stated that the deal “would drive up costs, reduce innovation, and reduce lenders’ choices for tools necessary to generate and service mortgages.”Continue Reading FTC Seeks to Block Deal Between Top Mortgage Loan Technology Providers

According to people with knowledge of the matter, the Federal Trade Commission is conducting a preliminary investigation of soft drink companies to determine whether their pricing practices in the soft drink market segment violate the price discrimination prohibitions of the Robinson-Patman Act (the “RPA”). Section 2(a) of the RPA makes it unlawful for a supplier to discriminate in price between competing resellers of “commodities of like grade and quality” when the effect of such discrimination is to injure competition.Continue Reading A Blast from the Past: FTC Bringing Back Enforcement of Robinson-Patman Act

On January 5, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced a broad proposed rule that would ban employers from imposing noncompete clauses on their workers. The FTC press release announcing the proposed rule states that noncompete clauses—which apply to about one in five American workers—suppress wages, hamper innovation, block entrepreneurs from starting new businesses and reduce American workers’ earnings between $250 billion and $296 billion per year.[1] The proposed rule would prohibit employers from: (1) entering into or attempting to enter into a noncompete with a worker; (2) maintaining a noncompete with a worker; or (3) representing to a worker, under certain circumstances, that the worker is subject to a noncompete. The term “worker” covers paid staff in addition to independent contractors and unpaid staff. The proposed rule does not apply to noncompete provisions imposed upon 25% owners of a business in transaction documents related to the sale of the business. The proposal is subject to a 60-day public comment period commencing when the Federal Register publishes the proposed rule.Continue Reading FTC Seeks to Ban Noncompete Agreements in Employment Contracts

On November 10, 2022, the Federal Trade Commission issued its “Policy Statement Regarding the Scope of Unfair Methods of Competition Under Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act.” The Statement replaces prior guidance on the subject that was rescinded by the FTC on July 1, 2021[1] and “supersedes all prior FTC policy statements and advisory guidance on the scope and meaning of unfair methods of competition under Section 5 of the FTC Act.”
Continue Reading FTC Policy Statement on the Scope of Unfair Methods of Competition – A Broad But Vague Warning

In her September 20, 2022 statement before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) Chairwoman Lina Kahn emphasized the FTC’s continued work combating repair restrictions that allegedly harm consumers, explaining that the FTC is “prioritizing action against business practices that unlawfully restrict consumers’ ability to repair their products, costing them more over the long term.”[1]
Continue Reading Federal Trade Commission Focused on Right to Repair Restrictions

Representing a sizable portion of the American economy, few industries in the United States have received more attention from the press, legislators, and antitrust agencies than the healthcare industry—particularly in recent years. Recent developments at the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) reaffirm that healthcare remains a top antitrust enforcement priorities in the United States.
Continue Reading U.S. Healthcare Industry Remains Antitrust Enforcement Priority